Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Sun Jun 24, 2018 3:25 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 151 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:08 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 206
Hi Anon,

I just wanted to offer my congratulations on doing so well on your trip, I can see that this was a big deal for you and you were able to put the action plans into play. Of course there are lessons to learn and grow from which you have identified but don't let that detract from what you have achieved. You should be proud of yourself and know that you are more than capable of managing your emotions when away on future business trips.

_________________
L2R

"If you ever doubt the lie of excitement that anticipates an urge and wonder if it will be worth it, remember that there is a very good reason that you joined Recovery Nation"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:32 pm 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
L2R,

Don't know if you believe in God/Universe/Bhudda/signs, but just want to let you know that again the Universe is speaking through you to me. Just last night my wife asked me about my reflections on my trip. I unfortunately tapped into the negative, "I did well in sticking to my action plans, but..."

Thank you for your reminder to show pride in my achievements. I am slowly learning to see the positive and allow my capacity to shine through. Similar to how "coming clean" to my wife about my urges often brings shame instead of pride for showing honesty. For some reason, it still doesn't feel "good" to show progress. Perhaps because I'm so used to instant gratification? So used to the highs of artificial emotion/life management? I feel shame for having to think this hard about acting morally. But as my wife has said to me in the past, "shame thoughts are wasted energy on things that do not serve you."

I guess my other concern of owning my achievements is that I also fear getting too cocky... getting too comfortable... I fear relapse. But only because I'm beginning to value my recovery. So thank you for your encouragement and highlighting my progress.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:35 pm 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
1. In relation to your general mental health, summarize your progression/regression over the past thirty days:
Regressions: Borderline Traits coming through in addition to my acts of self preservation. In particular, regressions include my lying to my wife about my past, all or nothing thinking when facing arguments, and allowing brief fantasies/dreams of K. My brain has been resorting to dissociation in the face of discomfort or pain. I find myself having occasional thoughts of fantasy (past or ruminating on dreams). There have been some times where I let them go longer instead of creating a break. I literally see and feel the emotional stimulation it provides me. But I cannot un-know my circumstances of being a love addict, so I break and move forward. Regardless, this behavior is risky. Other regressions revolve around complacency or allowing myself to become distracted during podcasts/my ritual.
Progressions: Creating a ritual of morning spiritual practice and evening reflection. Becoming more enlightened through self discovery via podcasts, RN, journaling, conversations with wife, and therapy. Examining emotions as an observer. Becoming more mindful of my reactivity (borderline traits). Setting intentions and meeting them. Beginning to feel more comfortable with my self affirmations and exploring self compassion.

2. Document your experiences with the following:
Fantasy: When I’m fatigued/hungry/stressed I notice the frequency of these thoughts increase and my threshold/energy/effort to create breaks decreases. To put a number on it, I’d say the fantasy thoughts a maximum of 1-2 times daily. The thoughts are a maximum of 6 seconds before I create a break.
Using the scale below, rate the positive impact that your recovery efforts over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)

Family 5
Friends 1
Co-Workers 2
Career 4
Finances 1
Romantic Relationships 5
Self-Esteem 3
Stress Level 3
Time Management 3
Hobbies 3
4. Using the scale below, rate the negative impact that your sexual and/or romantic behaviors over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)

Family 3
Friends 1
Co-Workers 1
Career 3
Finances 1
Romantic Relationships 5
Self-Esteem 4
Stress Level 4
Time Management 3
Hobbies 3

5) Summarize the progress made towards your existing recovery and life goals over the past thirty days:
Earlier in my recovery, I would have capitalized on the fantasies/dreams I had about K. I would have ruminated on them longer and allowed them to fester and grow. Although challenging, I’ve been creating breaks and choosing not to continue the fantasies. My self-judgement is still very high when these thoughts pop into my brain, but my most recent discussion with my therapist on the ‘normalcy’ of these thoughts considering my addiction and mental health diagnoses (especially at this early stage of my recovery) allows me to build acceptance instead of self-hatred. Over the past 30 days, I’ve made considerable efforts around building my spiritual practice: 5 minute meditation, intention setting, self affirmations in the mirror, ending with a prayer of gratitude. Most recently, in the evenings I’ve returned to a daily monitoring.
6) Describe the closest you came to a slip/relapse over the past month:
Slip occurred during event where I was confronted about my actions/behaviors surrounding a social media contact. I blatantly lied about the event to my wife and even manipulated her into feeling guilty for her treatment of me. It was a full blown slip into addiction behavior of living two lives—trying to cover my tracks and live clean “in the now.” I feared how the discussion would lead into further questions regarding my most recent affair (which would DUH lead to absolute honesty). Absolute honest came out anyway in disclosing omissions by accident.
7) List the most likely relapse triggers you will face in the coming month:
Any conversations that I perceive as “tough”. Shame, self judgment. Social interactions with alcohol. Complacency. Past memories or run-ins with targets. Borderline traits overtaking my thinking. Urges to pursue self preservation instead of my true core identity values. Overall, healthy stress management is key. With it, I’ll have more energy to deflect dissociation and face my fears.
8) Approximate (in percentages) the amount of time over the past month that you have spent:
Engaged in value based activity (top three) 15%
Engaged in value based activity (top ten) 15%
Engaged in emotion based, uneahtly activity 10% (reactivity in conversations)
Life maintenance chores 17%
With family (quality) 15%
With friends (quality) 2%
Alone (quality) 8%
Engaged in unhealthy sexual behavior .05% (sexual anorexia)
Engaged in unhealthy romantic behavior .05% (fantasy/thoughts)
Self improvement/ recovery 15%
9) Overall, how would you rate your emotional state over the past thirty days:
At it’s healthiest: close to healthy
At it’s unhealthiest: very unhealthy
Overall: close to healthy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: weekly monitoring
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:00 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
5/15

Weekly monitoring:
Over the past seven days, in what ways was I responsible for the energy that I brought to daily tasks/events/interactions?

I was responsible for the energy that I brought to my business trip. I went in with a plan, handled urges and temptation, and came clean about my urges and struggles to my wife. I resumed my daily intentions upon recognizing I fell off track. I was responsible for the interactions I had with my wife when my borderline traits began to peak—I asked for some time to reflect and respond to her in the AM about her points instead of reacting. I know that she often views this as me running from my problems, but I really feel like I’m able to communicated better if I can sleep on it. I’ll discuss this in further detail with her.

Given the events I had to manage — how well did I do in maintaining emotional balance through healthy means? Were there times when my life management skills were inadequate and I ended up turning to artificial means? Overall, I did a satisfactory job handling my emotions in regards to my trip. The past three days, upon having triggering conversations about intimacy and my recovery progress, my borderline traits went pretty out of control. I recognized the warning signs (ears burning, reactivity, anger feeling alone) and asked to have time to respond later. For now, I feel this is the appropriate response until I begin to build the skills necessary to bring myself out of the emotional/reactive trance of my borderline traits. I turned to artificial means of life management via dissociation, feeding off of the positive feedback from my trip, saying shocking things for a rise out of people, and escaping reality via some of my chores/hobbies.

In the past seven days, how did I initiate emotional or physical intimacy with my wife?
I intiated emotional intimacy with conversations regarding my work on RN, discussion with my therapist, reflections on podcasts, and reflections of my trip. Although minimal, I’ve been reaching out to her for physical connection via cuddling, hugs, loving touch… But that’s the extent of it…

In the next seven days, what will interfere with initiation of physical intimacy with my wife? When and how will I address these? Can I sit with them? Will I tell her? What will interefere? Me, my fears, and me searching for negative things to justify not having sex. Ie, believe I’m damaged goods, searching for reasons that I’m damaged, searching for reasons that I’m unable to have sex. My perceived “obligation” to have sex and “lack of need/want” to have sex is just that—a perception. It’s something I search for. I will address this barrier by searching for the benefits of and visualizing the outcome: not orgasm or fulfilling my wife’s need/ultimatum, but true connection. I can sit with this discomfort. I can tell her my concerns, but also tell her how I plan to move forward.

My body deserves respect via healthy choices. What specifically will I focus on to contribute to a healthy body? Who can help me stay accountable? I will focus on continuing to limit my alcohol—I really DO NOT feel great the morning after (even if it’s ‘just one’). I get reactive and loose. Is it really worth it? Do I really need it? It’s just another artificial means of emotion regulation….

In the past seven days, how could I have been more loving? Compassionate? Empathetic? Connected? Mature? Responsible? Creative? Kind? Joyful?
“Don’t make yourself alone, because you’re not” says my wife in the midst of a borderline episode. I can be connected if I allow myself. I can be connected if I let myself love me. I can be connected if I let her love me. To believe that “I just want to be alone” is just falling for a falsehood! I can absolutely be more connected if I reach out to her. In the midst of depression/anxiety/borderline I don’t feel like I need/want to be reach out to her. Why? To make myself believe that I’m alone? Don’t make yourself alone, Anon, because you’re not.

Looking ahead to the next seven days, what might interfere with my ability to stay true to my values, goals, and practice? What boundaries need to be in place so that I may continue to make healthy choices? How will I communicate these boundaries? I think my stress management is what will interfere the most—because it lowers my threshold for everything else. If my stress is high, it kind of works as a blinder to what’s real. I get caught up in the trance of stress and lose touch with my direction. Boundaries that will help with my stress are keeping organized and prioritizing my work, choosing NOT to escape reality via dissociation (in any form, ie my fish tank hobby or physical dissociation from my body), choosing to put reactivity aside, and choosing to reach out for connection instead (HARDEST PART for me).

Looking ahead at the next seven days, how do I plan to reach out for additional support in my family/community/work? I’m pretty swamped at work. Not agreeing to every opportunity that is given to me will be very important in not only preventing burnout, but also in managing my stress level. If I need help at work, then I’ll need to mention it. Doing so will allow my threshold for other stress will increase: I’ll be able to have longer in depth conversations with the wife, be more present in therapy, and have more patience for my children.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Lesson 50
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:48 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
3/16/18
Lesson 50 Exercise:
Once you have applied effective urge control — once you have identified the emotional elements of a compulsive urge, isolated the element that exists just prior to the 'point of no return' and put yourself in a position to make a rational decision in what was once a compulsive moment — the next step is to make the decision and accept the consequences for whatever decision you make.

A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)
Positive: Aligned with values and my true self/core identify. Doing different behavior than my past patterns. Showing progress. Putting others needs ahead of my wants. Acting as I’d want my children to. Having my actions match my words.

Negative: Not having the instant gratification or emotional boost/stimulation. Feeling boring or prude. Feeling censored/caged and dare I say not aligned with my “self”

B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative).

Positive: Perception that pain discomfort avoided. Instant gratification of temporary emotional boost. A small high that I perceive validates my existence, makes me feel accepted by someone/thing, creates excitement—these are all false ways of achieving my values (connection and joy).

Negative: Pain and discomfort created: guilt and shame. Once again putting my wants ahead of others. Becoming my mother. Boost/high doesn’t last, I crave more, habituation and intensity filters occur to increase stimulation. More compulsive behavior ensues. Cycle continues.

C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?

Values-based decision long term effects: Keeping my marriage, keeping my children, staying true to myself, directly contributing to my values, creating a refined identity, achieving my utmost potential (and therefore more able to experience joy and happiness), increasing my ability to make an impact, increase my self-acceptance, remove self-judgement and shame by reinforcing positive behaviors, improve positive self-talk and love, prove my worthiness of my acheivements.

Emotion-based decision long term effects: People are not able to ‘selectively numb’ their emotions—if I numb the feelings of pain and discomfort through emotion based decisions I also eliminate my ability to feel true joy or happiness. Emotion based decisions puts everything I’ve worked for at risk. There are no long term benefits—just short term satisfaction coupled with long-term negative consequences. Emotion based decisions lead me to feeding my addiction. Long-term consequences, destroying everyone and everything in my path. I’ll become my mother, a hurricane of chaos full of hardship and loneliness. It will lead to my eventual death and continuation of addicition/poor behaviors in my children. The pattern will not end. I will have not answered my calling. I will have failed.

D. Document your thoughts in your recovery manager.


Quote:
“In the coming lessons, decision-making in a compulsive environment will be developed through five stages. First, by identifying the options available to you. Second, filtering those options through your existing values/boundaries. Third, intellectually anticipating the consequences of those remaining options. Fourth, making the actual decision on which action to take. And, finally, internalizing the consequences of that action.”

What holds me back? Fear, shame and guilt around my current ability to make sound decisions. Self-judgment for not having healthy decision making skills to begin with. And here we are, Lesson 50, developing healthy decision making. The above quote makes it so simple. Because it is. And it will be, but it takes practice. I have the ability to practice a skill: instruments, athletics, my career. I get better, have OK days and better days. I have to accept that I won’t be recovered tomorrow and change my expectations. I will recover with practice. But the effort, commitment and vulnerability must be there. I need to be willing to lean into the discomfort and pain. My addiction’s sole purpose was to avoid discomfort and pain—in order to recover I must face it. I’m terrified. And that fear is what stalls my recovery. Every. Damn. Time.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:37 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
Lesson 51 Exercise:
To make a healthy decision — to master the skill of making healthy decisions — you must gain confidence in quickly and accurately identifying what options are available in any given situation, recognize the consequences of those actions, and ultimately, trusting yourself to choose the option best suited to promoting your values.
Share the following in your thread:

A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)

Saying shocking things/exagerating in a conversation for Emotional Stimulation/Management

• Part of a group conversation
• Feeling anxious about questions/when I’m in spotlight
• Prompted with questions about myself or family
***
• Say something shocking/funny/exaggerated
• Get response from crowd that makes me feel good about myself
• Feel guilty for lie/exaggeration/becoming my mom/putting my wife/self down.

***POINT OF CONSIDERATION OF OPTIONS:
Tell exaggerated story that shows nature of me being aligned with a “silly boy” (ie quality time/vs quantity time in front of TV)
Tell an untrue story to assert my skills (ie collegiate athlete)
Tell an untrue story to create excitement/suspense (ie about her implants)
Tell a sexualized story to create excitement/attention (ie about her implants)
Tell story that criticizes my wife to seem cool (ie her cooking)
Tell story of “struggling” through life for attention (ie selling motorcycle)
Tell story that is self-degrading for attention/sympathy (ie professional jock, “c’s get degrees”)
Tell story that I feel is shocking/revealing/makes me unique (gaming and my tattoos)
Tell truth of things collective we enjoy to do
Talk about myself truthfully
Talk about my wife/kids to avoid topic of me


B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)

Boundaries Filtered Options:
Tell exaggerated story that shows nature of me being aligned with a “silly boy” (ie quality time/vs quantity time in front of TV) violates INTEGRITY/MATURITY
Tell an untrue story to assert my skills (ie collegiate athlete) violates INTEGRITY/MATURITY
Tell an untrue story to create excitement/suspense (ie about her implants) violates INTEGRITY/CONNECTION/SUPPORT
Tell a sexualized story to create excitement/attention (ie about her implants) violates INTEGRITY/MATURITY/RESPONSIBILITY/SUPPORT
Tell story that criticizes my wife to seem cool (ie her cooking) violates CONNECTION/MATURITY/LEGACY
Tell story that is self-degrading for attention/sympathy (ie professional jock, “c’s get degrees”) violates CONTENT/WISEMIND/MATURITY/INTEGRITY/BRAVERY/LEGACY

Conflicting Values
Tell story of “struggling” through life for attention (ie selling motorcycle) Yes, this option does feed into APPRECIATION/CONNECTION but I don’t need to sound ‘exhausted/tried/tested” to receive that appreciation. Being me is enough. WISEMIND wins here.
Tell story that I feel is shocking/revealing/makes me unique (gaming and my tattoos) CREATIVITY/APPRECIATION/VULNERABILITY this can be considered an option if, and only if, I’m telling it with integrity. If it’s merely for the reaction/shock value, I’ve gone the wrong way. If it was part of conversation and I can contribute, there’s a difference.


C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:
Tell truth of things collective “we” enjoy to do
i. You make the decision to act on this option
Although this avoids the vulnerability of talking about ME, it does show VULNERABILITY by speaking truth and reinforces CONNECTION by talking about what my wife and I do together.
ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option
That’s ok, I have other healthy options to do instead. I would just miss out on speaking about my connection with my wife.
iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others
I think it would make my wife proud to know that I discuss us in a positive manner.
iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret
That’s ok. I do not need external reinforcement of my positive behavior all the time. To know that I chose a value based decision what matters.

Talk about myself truthfully
i. You make the decision to act on this option
It would reinforce my values. I’d feel uncomfortable, but eventually fulfilled. I’d be real and authentic. Which is scary… Values supported: BRAVERY/VULNERABILITY/MATURITY/CONNECTION/CONTENT/LEGACY
ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option
No harm done. Just a missed opportunity to show my true self.
iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others
Values of APPRECIATION/CONNECTION/LEGACY would be supported. I’d also receive positive feedback from my wife.
iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret
This is ok too. It only supports my personal values and what’s important is that I’m being TRUE to myself! I can show pride in myself for acting in a value based manner.

Talk about my wife/kids to avoid topic of me

i. You make the decision to act on this option
This is still an option because it would be discussing something I’m proud of. It would be my comfort zone. I am proud of my wife. I am proud of my children. It contributes to LEGACY/CONNECTION but it does avoid contributing to the values of BRAVERY/VULNERABILITY.
ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option
It just means that I would need to choose an option that requires more vulnerability and bravery, which may be uncomfortable.
iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others
People would know that I avoid me… And that’s uncomfortable and awkward.
iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret
Well, then I’m just reinforcing behavior that doesn’t contribute to BRAVERY/VULNERABILITY. At this point, it is violating INTGERITY/MATURITY and is no longer an option


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:13 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
3/21/18
Positive Recovery Reflections
My wife has been depressed/numb this week. I felt myself going through waves of emotions and thoughts about it. My borderline traits screamed out because “I’m the one that’s sick, I’m the one with mental issues, I’m the one that’s allowed to dissociate, not her.” My compassion decreases, my patience wanes, my resentment builds as she becomes further distant from our family. Anger builds within me. The borderline voices begin to get loud. My ears begin to burn. “SNAP OUT OF IT” is what I want to scream. The voices snowball. “CAN’T YOU JUST SUCK IT UP FOR THE KIDS? YOU’RE BEING SO DRAMATIC.”

I pause. Because I know what she wants the most is connection, compassion, and emotional care.

And then I pray to God to ask for strength to provide her with what she needs. And so I reach out. I dig deep. I become silly. I slide her some chocolate. I initiate cuddling and make her respond from beneath her shell. I tell her I love her. I’m hurt by her lack of response, but I continue anyway.

Before making my attempt to recover? That pause never would have happened. I would have let her go, or given her shit to snap out of it. Compassion. Patience. Understanding. I offer to my clients. I can offer to myself. I can offer to my wife.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Weekly Monitoring
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:49 pm 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
Weekly monitoring:
Over the past seven days, in what ways was I responsible for the energy that I brought to daily tasks/events/interactions?


My wife has highlighted and positively reinforced the SIGNIFICANT change in alcohol I’ve made. I’m definitely down to about 1-3 a WEEK instead of 1-3 a DAY. I’ve been very open with her (and myself) about how alcohol impacts my mood. If I drink I sleep horribly, have mental fog in the morning, and it lowers my inhibitions/ability to make better decisions in the moment. I ALSO find myself craving more and more in the moment which is very dangerous.
My wife’s depression and numbness has really tested my responsibility around the energy I bring to our relationship. I feel myself wanting to pull away, push away, and not feel her hurt—mostly because it reminds me that I’m the cause of her hurt. But I’ve been responsible by leaning in and reaching out.

Given the events I had to manage — how well did I do in maintaining emotional balance through healthy means? Were there times when my life management skills were inadequate and I ended up turning to artificial means? I feel I did well—we had some social events this past weekend. Although I’m always nervous when we host people, I feel I was able to manage my inner dialogue and nerves ok. I did, however, use quite a bit of artificial means to manage my emotions—focusing in on the kids instead of the adults, alcohol food, and my fish tank.

In the past seven days, how did I initiate emotional or physical intimacy with my wife? I continue to initiate emotionally intimate conversations with my wife, but still struggle with the physical intimacy. This is the direct reason why my wife is depressed/numb. She said, “I’m realizing how far you have to go to deal with your physical intimacy issues. Therefore I’m realizing how long I have until I’m going to be happy. I don’t want to feel that sadness, so I’m numb.”

In the next seven days, what will interfere with initiation of physical intimacy with my wife? When and how will I address these? Can I sit with them? Will I tell her?

It hurts knowing how my fear of physical intimacy is directly impacting our progress as a couple. Fear. It seems so easy. Just f*cking have sex with her. But I’ve so badly emotionally traumatized and flogged myself for my past actions. The guilt and fear are overwhelming. It makes me search for the negative again—“I’m not attracted to her. I don’t even like sex anyway. Do I even love her?” We spoke the physical intimacy in couple’s therapy. Although I felt good about the homework I was given, I think it was overwhelming to my wife to hear how I’m literally starting from scratch. I just sent her my homework and intend to sit with this and discuss it with her. I do feel the internal pressure of then leading into sex, but I want to repair our relationship. This is an important piece. It is something I must lean in to.

My body deserves respect via healthy choices. What specifically will I focus on to contribute to a healthy body? Who can help me stay accountable? Seeing as I spoke with my wife about my alcohol intake, she’s also been helping me stay accountable. It’s hard because she can drink whenever she wants to. I on the other hand know I have a problem and can’t. Although I get a sense of resentment, it is quickly quieted because I remember that I feel like crap if I drink anyway. So why bother? I feel like this is progress.

In the past seven days, how could I have been more loving? Compassionate? Empathetic? Connected? Mature? Responsible? Creative? Kind? Joyful?
Anytime my borderline traits come up I have room to improve around all of these areas. I think the most obvious example is around my reaction to her numbness and depression. My compassion, empathy, connection, and maturity are always lacking during bouts of these episodes. With pause and prayer I can wake up. Easier said than done, but I feel I’m beginning to make more efforts to snap out of it. In terms of joy? Yes. I am often catching myself in the negative. Let’s tap into that joy and optimism. I could always work harder at assuming something good is about to happen.
Looking ahead to the next seven days, what might interfere with my ability to stay true to my values, goals, and practice? What boundaries need to be in place so that I may continue to make healthy choices? How will I communicate these boundaries? As always, any upcoming social interactions or event with alcohol. I will prepare for these events by continuing my lessons—right now I’m in the midst of urge control/values based decision making which is very applicable. Doing this practice will help in upholding my boundaries.
Looking ahead at the next seven days, how do I plan to reach out for additional support in my family/community/work? Continuing to make connection with my wife will be important. I have some meetings coming up at work where I can delegate some tasks. I need to do that in order to protect my threshold/stress levels.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Lesson 52
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:40 pm 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
Quote:
• Recognize that a compulsive event is upon you
• Recognize that this event is triggering emotions that will affect your decision-making skills
• Commit yourself to finding a values-based solution to managing this event
• Recognize that with this values-based decision, you will be left with unresolved emotions that will likely feel intense
• Remind yourself that the intensity of these emotions are finite...and manageable. That the worst you will face in the aftermath of your values-based decision is emotional discomfort triggered by self-denial, grief, lost opportunity, etc. This discomfort is just that — uncomfortable. It is not life-threatening.
• Consciously derive as much stimulation as you can from the values-based decision that you made.


Lesson 52 Exercise:
This exercise may be difficult for certain types of thinkers, so simply do your best.
Consider a situation in life (outside of addiction) where this 'isolation' of feelings/emotions has been known to occur and/or might prove beneficial. For instance, certain Eastern practices where people can isolate the physical pain they are experiencing from their spiritual selves and thus, manage that pain with ease. And no, you can't use that as your example! There are thousands of such potential applications — albeit not as dramatic. Share this in your thread.
What I am looking for is your skill in understanding the concepts involved with isolating emotions and what it will 'look like/feel like' in real life application. If you can't think of anything, say so in your thread and I will provide you with an example.

3/22/18
I mean this is probably the most important thing I need to do in my recovery ever. So Anon, get your act together, listen, and work the lesson. Coming up with an example is so clear. My love addiction is one thing. My borderline personality disorder? An animal that interferes with my recovery, my communication, and my relationships—and it’s all often triggered by emotions. My borderline absolutely causes me to isolate emotions, but in an ass backwards way through dissociation. If I can instead isolate them in a reverse productive way… If I can just master this… if I can utilize my skills and practice them… to be able to wake up/snap out of a borderline trance attack? That’d be a super hero power. I’m thinking back to the most recent ones last week. The burning in my ears, my inability to hear her over the voices in my head. The INTENSE out of body disscociation, where I don’t know where my body ends and the world begins. The misinterpretation of her words. The skewed perception. The boiling rage! ALL BASED ON EMOTION. There is no medication for this personality disorder. NONE. Just DBT, mindfulness, support, and Recovery Nation. Without them, I will live a life of chaos. A mindless hurricane that destroys everyone and everything in its path. It’s not dramatic—it is the truth. Look at my mother.
The cure is emotion management. This is my chance to end the pattern. End the cycle. I can end the pattern of borderline and addiction with complete mastery of this skill. I’m terrified of failing because I KNOW how hard it is to snap out of it in the moment. TO CHOOSE to derive my stimulation from my values:
CONNECTION: to reach out to my wife and connection
RESPONSIBILITY: utilize the skills that I know work. I cannot leave the house without my keys, cellphone, wallet, or VALUES.
MATURITY: set some boundaries for myself so that I may have time to process (ie slowing conversation down so that I may listen to what I’m truly hearing instead of listening to voices)
BRAVERY/LEGACY/VULNERABILITY/CONTENT: Believing in my ability to do this. Believing in the path to healing, instead of the beaten path of misery, emotional reactivity, and compulsive behavior.
WISEMIND: Who is hurt in the moment? My inner child? My neglected, unseen, misunderstood, and lonely child version of myself? Then comfort her. Offer her compassion. Sit with her. Hold her until she melts. Ask her what she needs, then logically provide it or show her the way. Hold her with tender care. Comfort her. Ask your wife to comfort her too. The emotions will only last 90 seconds unless I initiate the response again. So how would I like to let this wash over me? How would I like to zoom out and gain perspective of this moment? How would I like to invite her down and sit with her? Listen to her? How would I like to create space for her?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:06 am 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3561
Location: UK
Hi Anon
Quote:
My wife has been depressed/numb this week. I felt myself going through waves of emotions and thoughts about it. My borderline traits screamed out because “I’m the one that’s sick, I’m the one with mental issues, I’m the one that’s allowed to dissociate, not her.” My compassion decreases, my patience wanes, my resentment builds as she becomes further distant from our family. Anger builds within me.


I know that you recognise the fact but an occasional reminder does not harm
Our SO,s have emotions just the same as do we addicts, these come and go. their intensity waxes and wanes

They just like we can and are triggered by many things, events comments and reactions etc

what we can do as you note is
offer Compassion. Patience. Understanding.
We can support, be open and honest, sympathise, empathise, comfort , but we cannot control or take responsibility for their healing

be patient, remember where the fault lies but do not burden yourself with additional guilt that could possibly impede your recovery,

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:12 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
Kenzo,

As always, your support and stopping by means a great deal to me.

Quote:
be patient, remember where the fault lies but do not burden yourself with additional guilt that could possibly impede your recovery,


I will post in a moment, but I was in fact journaling on my reflections regarding less one and the three pillars to recovery, with guilt/shame being a barrier to full health.

You're right. She's entitled to her feelings, but most importantly, they will come and go. If anything, watching her handle her emotions (as a non-addict) could be a lesson for me on how I might handle my emotions in a healthy way. I cannot expect her to be happy all the time--just as I cannot expect to be happy all the time. Doing so is an inaccurate expectation of health. Health is allowing myself to feel ALL emotions and let them wash over.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:32 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
3/23/18
Last night had a conversation with wife about physical intimacy. We were assigned homework by my therapist to create “instructions” for sex with each other. It was helpful to have that open communication of what she wants and needs. The details of her boundaries and what works or doesn’t work. It was cathartic for me to write them as well. We were able to discuss it openly and I think it was helpful for both of us. My wife then wanted to discuss next steps. And I was thrown into a whirlwind of anxiety, fear, and borderline reactivity. I do feel, however, that I was able to manage the symptoms better than I’ve done in the past. Mantras of, “It will only last 90 seconds. Be here now. Breathe in the pain,” were helpful.

For the past 9 months I’ve been suppressing all sexual behavior. Complete abstinence. No masturbating, no sex with the wife, no acting out. Just acting in. My wife said she feels punished for my choice not to have sex with her. And now she’s angry. It wasn’t my intention.. I was really just punishing myself. But this goes back to the very first lesson I did on RN. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation: Commitment, not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment, and allowing time for change.
By continuing to withhold sex from myself, I’m allowing guilt/shame to sabotage my recovery. Abstinence is not recovery. It’s just avoidance and fear. I’m stuck in a cowardly place. Suck it up, Anon. Why do you so badly “not want to”? Why do I treat this as an obligation? Why do I treat it as a chore?
“In regards to sexuality, the void is often experienced as one might feel following the death of a loved one. That it is almost surreal. That they are no longer complete...and never will be again. The sexual activities that had once come naturally, now seem contrived and uncomfortable. Their ability to lose themselves in the sexual act is now experienced as emptiness and confusion as they truly have no idea how to feel. How to act. How to experience healthy sexuality. Their sexual thoughts and activities are constantly self-analyzed. Fear encroaches on their decision-making. Guilt and anxiety accompanies normal feelings of passion and sexual enjoyment. Self doubt, insecurity and complete sexual paralysis become staples of this person's life. Now, this description leans towards the more extreme experience, but many of these behaviors are experienced in some way by most who transition from compulsive sexual behavior to healthy sexual behavior.”

Lesson 39
Quote:
“It is not intended to be completed in a matter of hours, but to be developed over the course of weeks, months and years. This is certainly not the only way to develop healthy sexual values, but it is a guaranteed effective way.”


And so I return to Lesson 39 to evolve it more.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Lesson 39 revisited
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:45 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
Copying this from lesson 39 because it explains exactly what's going on.
Quote:
The Effects of Sexual Addiction Recovery on One's Sexual Identity
As you continue the transition from sexual addiction to health, you will most likely come face-to-face with significant deficiencies in your life. Nowhere is this more common than in the area of sexuality. Ironically, many sexual addicts believe themselves to be sexual masters. Romantic experts. And while their behavior may warrant such a label, their technical mastery is a mere illusion that does not represent their true sexual health. As recovery progresses and they begin to recognize that they have been little more than sexual performers, a deep and profound sense of sexual disorientation and incompetence sets in. What they believed was true of their sexuality has turned out to be an illusion. And just like that, what they had come to believe was their greatest strength...their most trusted ally — was now their biggest obstacle.

This enlightenment is not easy to overcome. From an addiction standpoint, when your goal in recovery is to achieve balance and emotional stability through the development of a foundation of values...the last thing you want to do is to remove one of the strongest pillars you have in your value arsenal. Logically, this is a recipe for destabilization and emotional disaster. And in a sense, this is exactly what it will accomplish. Because your sexual values — the very values that you have been using to stimulate emotional intensity — have developed into destructive, unhealthy tools...you will be asked to lay them aside and redevelop new ones. Of course, this takes time, and so...how do you achieve the emotional intensity that makes you feel 'normal'? That makes you feel alive? That makes life worth living? This is where the void of recovery takes place. From the moment that you lay down the unhealthy tools in your life and begin to construct newer, stronger, more valuable tools (e.g. values).

In regards to sexuality, the void is often experienced as one might feel following the death of a loved one. That it is almost surreal. That they are no longer complete...and never will be again. The sexual activities that had once come naturally, now seem contrived and uncomfortable. Their ability to lose themselves in the sexual act is now experienced as emptiness and confusion as they truly have no idea how to feel. How to act. How to experience healthy sexuality. Their sexual thoughts and activities are constantly self-analyzed. Fear encroaches on their decision-making. Guilt and anxiety accompanies normal feelings of passion and sexual enjoyment. Self doubt, insecurity and complete sexual paralysis become staples of this person's life. Now, this description leans towards the more extreme experience, but many of these behaviors are experienced in some way by most who transition from compulsive sexual behavior to healthy sexual behavior.

Breaking Out of the Void
As we know by now, boundaries exist to provide us with a means for protecting our values. But how can you define boundaries to protect values that do not exist? Or that have been so badly deteriorated that the boundaries themselves would be meaningless? If we do not have a clear base of healthy sexual values, then there is no way that we can define the boundaries to protect those values, right?

Wrong.

You have entered a rebuilding phase in your life, which means that you have given yourself permission to take the time and energy to learn how to do things right. If you follow the most common road in this sexual redevelopment process, you will first come to recognize and remove all existing unhealthy sexual values. This will leave you at a bare minimum in terms of the value's ability to provide stability to your life. Accurately, you will feel incompetent and almost child-like when identifying with your own sexuality. And so, like a child, your role in development becomes the relearning of the sexual values that should have been learned many years ago. The difference is, you are now mature enough to orchestrate that learning, as opposed to leaving yourself at the mercy of others to teach you.

Step 6 Select Initial Value for Development

• Sex is just as much a connection as is emotional connection.

Step 7 Define the boundaries that will protect the selected value

I will treat sex as a special and sacred event
I will be genuine in my touch
I will make intentions and sincere efforts to stay in the moment
I will savor the times that I’m in the moment during sex (as to keep an active registry and recall of positive physical touch and memories)
I will communicate openly if I’m not in the mood
I will make the effort to get in the mood
I will openly communicate my physical and emotional needs
I will openly listen to my wife’s physical and emotional needs
I will listen to my wants but understand the meaning beneath them before acting
I will communicate my feelings through touch
I will communicate my feelings through words

Step 8 Observe Others
To observe others I decided to review a bunch of different threads that completed Lesson 39. I found it helpful to explore the unhealthy behavior of others to help keep things in perspective. I didn’t use this as a way of judgment, but as a way of awareness of other thoughts/beleifs that exist. I also was able to gather health sexual values that I admire. I’ve collected some of these below.
Masturbation is a normal, healthy activity when used in moderation and not as a substitute for human connection.
One can’t have an erotic-ectomy. One should not feel shame/guilt for what turns them on (with some serious exceptions).
Sex has no value outside of love
I am not missing masturbation and realise it was a compulsive ritual
Sex and love are connected but they are not the same thing

Step 9 Look for Opportunities to Apply Your Values
I have applied my values by having sex with my wife twice this week. It seems foreign to say this. But regardless, it is a positive beginning/ending to my sexual anorexia. Last night, was a form of pure connection. Feeling stressed, I felt the urge to simply reach out. No need for orgasm from both of us. Just enjoying connection and true touch. We discussed it afterwards. She asked me if I was overwhelmed with fear. I was honest with her about the thoughts that came into my head about the intensity, her expecations, the pressure on myself. But we were able to get on the same page about it all and it felt good to know that we both just wanted to connect. She was proud of me for reaching out to her for physical love when I was stressed. For the first time, I was kind of proud of myself too.

Step 10 Evaluate the Consequences
The consequences of not engaging? Maintaining painful status quo. Not pursuing a HEALTHY opportunity to relieve my stress. REMAINING stressed. Missing a connection with my wife. Encouraging avoidance/unhealthy behavior. Encouraging feeding guilt/shame.
The consequences of engaging? Feeling anxious about expectations/pressure. Feeling relief. Committing to the right thing. Using physical and emotional energy to connect. Feeling uncomfortable. Improving my relationship with my wife. Feeling vulnerable.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Lesson 53
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:24 pm 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
Lesson 53 Exercise:


A. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbation to be against your values — and therefore, a destructive act. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbating to be within your values — and therefore, a healthy act.

Against values: Any time that I choose to masturbate instead of have sex with my wife. If I choose to masturbate while she’s sleeping. If I masturbate to fantasies of past affairs, of scanned individuals, or to pornographic images that make me feel guilty/shameful afterwards. If I masturbate and hide it from my wife. These all violate my values of connection, maturity, bravery, contentment, and integrity.

Within values: This is really tough for me to answer because I don’t have much experience of “healthy masturbation”. Regardless, a helpful exercise to come up with ideas on how it would be within my values… Perhaps if my wife were unavailable or not in the mood… if she gave me permission and wanted to watch… if I masturbated to the ideas of making love to her… if I communicated my need to her and received her permission… these would all be examples of healthy masturbation…

B. In your recovery thread, list other common value conflicts involving sexual and/or romantic behavior that you have found yourself engaged in? Or that you may find yourself engaged in, given your history.

Conflicting values:
Connection :: Social Acceptance/Maturity/Responsibility/Integrity/Selflessness
In an effort to feel connection, I’d prime women to gain connection with them. This is against my value of social acceptance because any type of priming/affair ritual puts my wants before my children/wife’s needs, is not socially acceptable, violates the boundaries of my wife, and is irresponsible.

Social Acceptance :: Maturity/Responsibility/Integrity
In an effort to achieve social acceptance I may say sexual comments to “look cool” but this is against my values of maturity/responsibility/integrity

Bravery/Joy :: Selflessness/Responsibility
In an effort to feel bravery and joy, I’d drastically skew them by attempting suspenseful/impulsive/instant gratification behavior such as cheating/affiars/flirting. This is putting my wants before my wife’s needs and is also violating boundaries.

Physical safety and security :: Connection/selflessness
In an effort to protect my perceived safety by avoiding feelings of fear and vulnerability, I choose not to have sex with my wife. This puts my wants before our needs, and also violates my value of connection.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Lesson 54
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:15 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 161
3/27/18

Quote:
“With this understanding, it becomes necessary to eliminate the existence of such a dual identity if the pattern of addiction is to be eliminated.”
How often have we used the parable of the two wolves? The one that wins is the one you feed. And that often relates directly to addiction. Feed the health, it grows. Feed the addiction. It grows.

But as discussed in this lesson, true freedom is elimination of the idea that there are two selves at all. Connected with our core identity—with our spirit and heart—is the way to true freedom.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, growing up as a child KNOWING that I was different because of my homosexuality allowed me to hone and perfect a skillset of lying and living two lives. I lied to cover up the true me, so that I might be loveable and accepted by my family and social circle. In addition to being gay, I also adapted due to being raised in hyper-religiosity and under parents that constantly made me feel abandoned. This lead to the development of my personality disorder (my inadequacy to manage my emotions in healthy ways), my life of addiction (to manage those emotions), budding anger (my justifications for my acting out), and the burning rejection of my true self.

So we search to integrate our social self with inner self and support the growth and maintenance of that new self with healthy behaviors and experiences. This process is the COMPLETE opposite of instant gratification which is why it can be so painful.

I did mention in my last post, that for the first time I’ve begun to experience pride/stimulation/appreciation of my new self after making healthy decisions.

Quote:
“One advantage of basing decisions on developing one's core identity means that every decision becomes an immediate opportunity to grow. This, as opposed to first filtering decisions through whether or not the behavior can be kept secret (a practice that often leads only to keeping better secrets) is where the opportunity to derive positive emotional stimulation from value-based decisions must be developed.”


This really spoke to me as well. Even up to this point, I’ve still been basing my decisions on this by saying to myself, “This behavior/thought doesn’t serve me. I need to be honest with my wife about it. Besides, I wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret anyway.”

Lesson 54 Exercise:
In your recovery thread:
A. Select a VALUE-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some NEGATIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?


I chose to NOT act out/drink during my business trip. Negative consequences:
Feeling sorry for myself
Dealing with my emotions without alcohol
Publicly owning my decision/accountability by declining drinks
Not getting to “let loose” “have as much fun” as my coworkers
Feeling controlled

B. Select an EMOTION-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some POSITIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

I chose to have another affair last year.

Emotional stimulation via excitement/suspense/danger
Fulfilling my wants/desires
Feeling wanted/desirable
Feeling free/brave/daring


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 151 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: myrecovery18 and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group